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on 29 November 2006
I agree with the other reviewer re. this single cd edition being less than ideally comprehensive - maybe because their earlier albums were on another label (Beggars Banquet) and partly represented by the earlier 'Melting Pot' compilation? - but for the songs that ARE on here, five stars! The Charlies are hugely undervalued but everyone one of these is a classic pop/rock/indie/who cares! tune'n'spirit packed glory.
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I share, to some degree the same opinion of other people who have said that The Charlatans are still an underrated band, but to date, they have notched up eleven studio albums, three of which have been at number one, and a handful of top ten singles, so they have been very successful in terms of chart success, and remain one of the most respected bands to have flourished in the Britpop era.

'Forever - The Singles' was released in 2006, and spans their entire career from 1990-2006. However, if you are looking for their best known tunes from their '90s heyday only, although you'll find plenty of them here, I would personally go for their first compilation, 1998's 'Melting Pot' instead.

This collection draws heavily from the band's four albums that were released after 'Melting Point', and so includes big hits like the inspiring 'Forever' and 'Love Is The Key', and their most recent singles at the time, 'Blackened Blue Eyes' and 'You're So Pretty - We're So Pretty'. This means that several popular tracks from the '90s have had to be omitted. Nevertheless, their signature sing-along tunes from this era, which was arguably their creative peak: 'The Only One I Know', 'One To Another', 'How High' and 'North Country Boy' can all be found on this disc.

Although the slightly newer stuff isn't always as memorable to me as the older songs (hence the four stars), there is still some excellent material to have come from the years after 'Melting Pot' that is well worth hearing. 'Forever - The Singles' is a good starting point for anyone who plans on building a collection of The Charlatans studio albums around it, and demonstrates what a versatile band Tim Burgess and his musicians are, who have effortlessly taken on a variety of different musical styles, and helped to create a soundtrack for a generation.

The tracks are helpfully presented in chronological order, and the songs from 1 to 9 will help to remind you just how indie music was supposed to sound!
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on 16 November 2006
Why oh why are they so light on the early period - OK 'Then' is no classic but no 'Over Rising', 'Jesus Hairdo' or 'Just Lookin''???? What's that about??? And yet - we get all the singles from 97 in order, even 2 songs from the very poor album (by their standards) 'Up At The Lake'?

Go out and buy 'Between 10th and 11th' instead - an underrated CLASSIC.
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2007
It's nigh on impossible to condense a near 17 year career into the 80 minutes that can fit onto one CD, but whilst this may not give the whole story it offers up proof that when they were good, The Charlatans were very special indeed.

Another chronologically ordered singles compilation, this takes us from their debut single Indian Rope (surprisingly they don't start with The Only One I Know) to 2006 single Blackened Blue Eyes. If neither track is essential, a lot of what lies in between is.

The Only One I Know is the baggy Manchester sound at it's best whilst Weirdo brings a kind of gothic northern sould to the party. The soul of this particular party though has to be the cuts from the Charlatan's best album Telling Stories. Four songs are taken from it (One To Another, North Country Boy, How High and Tellin' Stories) and even they only hint at the majesty of the album as a whole.

Even though it didn't seem to appeal to fans of that album, I always found Wonderland a great album too. It only produced two top 40 singles and both make it onto this collection, the sublime Love Is The Key and A Man Needs To Be Told.

Sadly from there, the collection does noticeably dip in quality. The last two studio albums (2004's Up At The Lake and the afformentioned Simpicato) were disappointing and even cherry-picking the "best" from those two doesn't leave much excitement. The new track is also a lesson in pointlessness. You're So Pretty We're So Pretty was a good song to start with, and was scheduled to be a single once upon a time, but the disco tinged remix does nothing for the song, or for the the collection as a whole.

Whilst this is undoubtedly a compilation that tails off to the end, it serves as a great reminder of how good the Charlatans were at their peak. Who knows, it may even serve as a reminder to the group themselves after the last two disappointments.
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on 20 September 2010
Since I bought this album in July 2010, I must hear it at least twice or three times a week - it really is an excellent album. The Charlatans have the knack of creating some really catchy tunes, but further than this - their sounds are so excellently produced, separated, layered and delivered. Hear this album - and especially the tracks Weirdo, One to Another and Forever - on a seriously quality pair of closed ear headphones (I have Senneheisers) and you'll get the full stunning production, and afterwards most other music will just not cut the mustard! Enjoy!
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on 1 June 2007
This is the first compilation I bought of the Charlatans, only because it adds this bonusdisc.

But why withdraw the limited edition on the day of release?

The bonusdisc contains some nice session-tracks and demo's, but is far from complete.

I think it would have been nicer to add the complete first BBC-sessions instead of kind of randomly choose some tracks from the various sessions they did.

Now it goes on Ebay for silly amounts, I don't think the band had that in mind when releasing it. Keep it available for a longer period so more fans can buy the special edition, that way the band gets more money too!!
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on 13 September 2010
A great collection of The Charlatans singles, under rated compared to the Stone Roses etc.
Great in the car!
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on 9 November 2016
Missed out first time round.Good to catch up before gig at Manchester cricket club
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on 22 October 2010
The release of an initial Best Of collection often unfortunately signals the beginning of the end of the creative prime of an act. I have the first Charlatans compilation Melting Pot (1998) and here we have a new collection released in 2006. So does the law of diminishing post-compilation returns apply to this band of Madchester survivors...

The answer I'm pleased to say is no though this always looked likely bearing in mind that Forever only contains seven Melting Pot tracks amongst the 18 songs featured. Highlights from the post MP years include the falsetto funk of Love Is The Key, bounding Up At The Lake and soulful A Man Needs To Be Told.

The Charlatans exploded out of the baggy Madchester scene with the classic single The Only One I Know at the beginning of the 90s. A great song for sure though the supporting tracks were more shaky with most critics barely expecting the band to keep going beyond album number two let alone still being a fully functioning creative outfit 20 years alter. As it happens, album number two was a let down though album three was much better with the subsequent releases creating a mid 90s peak of swaggering, organ-led Stones influenced rock. The brilliant Can't Get out Of Bed, How High and Just When You're Thinking It Over are amongst the tracks featured on Forever from this golden period.

Post 1997, The Charlatans weren't quite so commercially successful though there's still enough good later material on Forever to show that the band are still a creative musical force to be reckoned with. A very worthwhile purchase for anyone wishing to have a compilation by these indie veterans - whether or not you already own Melting Pot.
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on 8 September 2016
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